A typical Thursday morning at Virnau Tractor suddenly changed with a 15-second span of a collection of loud noises.
It was the tire of an 18-wheeler blowing, ultimately leading the vehicle into the guardrail right in front of Sealy Tractor.
Although once the guardrail ended, the big rig took a sharp right and went right through the fence and directly into two tractors before screeching to a halt in the north display field of Sealy Tractor.
Damon Hand, heading south on Highway 36, was delivering a load of raw potatoes to the Frito Lay plant in Rosenberg and said he saw something in the road. Before he knew it, he was up against the guardrail.
“I thought I saw a small animal in the lane, so I swerved and when I did I hit the guardrail out there and lost control,” he noted.
Hand was nearing the final stretch of his delivery run that originated in Dalhart, about 685 miles from Rosenburg. At Virnau Tractor, he was a mere 26 miles away from his destination.
Instead, Jeff Virnau came out of his office to investigate the noise which he originally thought was stemming from a truck they were unloading at the same time closer to the showroom.
“We’re unloading a truck in the back and I first thought they toppled off one of those so we kind of headed that way at first then we realized they were fine and of course found the problem down here,” Virnau recounted.
“[We] came down and saw this gentleman and made sure he was alright first, then went to check on the power lines and things like that. Called 911 and got great support from the community and got a very fast respond time.”
It was a slow morning also for some Sealy Police, Fire and Austin Country Sherriff representatives but they secured the area and made sure the roadway was still safe to travel on.
In addition, the services of Center Point Energy and Delgado Wreckage were called upon to help take care of the debris and safely remove the big rig from the display yard.
At the end of the day, Virnau was sure to mention that, “We’re glad everyone’s fine,” and will get to work on the damage assessment to replace the items involved in the wreck.